GA gets $532M for work on USS Enterprise EMALS

Illustration: HII photo of USS Gerald R. Ford in dry dock

The U.S. Navy has awarded General Atomics a $532.6 million contract modification to install the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) onboard the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 80).

The latest modification includes the manufacture, assembly, inspection, test and checkout of the EMALS and includes repairs, technical data, and drawing changes.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System is designed to replace the steam catapult system currently used on U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. The new Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first carrier to use EMALS while the other two ships in the class will also feature the system.

This contract comes after the US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed that Gerald R. Ford’s new electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which uses electromagnetic technology to launch aircraft from the deck of naval aircraft carriers, put excessive airframe stress on planes launching from the flight deck, preventing the navy from operating F/A-18A-F and EA-18G aircraft from the carrier.

It was also noted that the navy was unable to electrically isolate Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) components to perform maintenance which means some types of EMALS and AAG maintenance will not be possible during flight operations.

The Navy plans to examine system improvements in FY17.

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